On Ladakh standoff with China, Jaishankar says ‘India being tested, will meet national security challenge’
External affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday India was being tested and that he was confident that it would meet the national security challenge along the contested border amid the stalemate with China over the eastern sector of Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)
“We are being tested. I have every confidence we will rise to the occasion and meet the national security challenge. But beyond that, at this time, I would really frankly keep my own counsel,” the Union minister said during an interactive session at the annual general meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
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Jaishankar called the events along the LAC very disturbing that have raised some very “basic concerns’’, adding “what has happened in eastern Ladakh was not actually in China’s interest as it has significantly impacted public sentiment in India.”
Recalling the ties between India and China when he was younger and how the relationship has evolved over the years, Jaishankar said, “Professionally, I have seen the evolution of how the Indian public feels about China over the last many decades and I am old enough to remember much more difficult days, especially in my childhood and in my teens,” he said.”
The minister expressed concern over the future of bilateral ties between the two countries and said the events of this year have not helped at all. “In fact, I think the real danger is that the goodwill which was so carefully developed will dissipate,” he added.
When asked about when India and China are likely to arrive at a resolution, Jaishankar said, “I would not go into the prediction zone at all whether it is going to be easy or not, and what will be the timelines and so on.”
For almost eight months now, the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been locked in a tense border standoff in the Ladakh region with no breakthrough yet despite multiple rounds of discussions between top authorities.